Sunday, December 9, 2018

Simple Tips to Encourage Your Child to Love Reading

Kids who love to read are happier, do better in school and win more college scholarships. If this sounds good to you, then fill your home with books. Start with yourself, because you’re your child’s first role model. It’s pretty simple. Find an author you enjoy. See if he wrote a series. I love the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly. I found a list of these books online, and started reading from the top. I’ve done the same for several other authors too. You can buy books online or in a book store, pick them up at the public library or do as I do, download them from the library for free. Your children will see you enjoying yourself as you read through your list of books.

Next determine which books your child might like. This will depend upon age, of course. When my daughter was little, I read to her daily. She loved Peter Rabbit, so I bought her a set of Beatrix Potter books. I continued giving her books as gifts and reading to and later with her as she grew. Our home was filled with books. She’s a mother of teenagers now, and they’re readers too. If you don’t know where to start, ask your child’s teacher for a suggestion, look online for popular titles by age, or ask for a recommendation from an employee at your local bookstore, or the librarian in your neighborhood library.

I continued this book giving tradition with my grandsons. Each birthday and Christmas, I give them a book on a subject I know they enjoy. My oldest loves science fiction, so I gave him books from classic science fiction authors starting with Jules Verne. He loves them all. The younger boy enjoyed the Wimpy Kid series of books. As he grew older, he joined his school track team, so I gave him an autobiography of Louis Zamparini, track star and WWII hero, for his birthday. He told me it was fantastic, so I bought him an autobiography of Jesse Owens for Christmas this year. You get my point? Feed your kids and grandkids books in subjects they love, and they’ll learn to appreciate reading.

Readers do well in English, History and Foreign Language classes in school. They’re at an advantage, since the act of reading is one they relish. You have time to start this tradition in your house. You’re already online, just slip over to your favorite search engine and type in “Most popular books for ____ year old children”. Order a few books, and when they arrive, write a sweet message inside. My daughter told me my grandkids love the little notes I write in the books I give them. Yours will love them too.

For information on college planning and scholarships, you’ll want my new book, Free College. It’s for families of Pre-K through High School students.  Buy it now from Amazon,

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Photo credit: Google Images 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

How Students Can Be Happy for the Rest of Their Lives

Parents and school counselors often encourage students to take advanced classes in every subject. This might look like good on a transcript, but how does it make students feel? Are they overwhelmed, or inspired? Be careful to avoid the first emotion while boosting the second.

I’m a perfect example. In my case, I have loved words and grammar since I was little. Numbers, however, seem to slip through the cracks in my mind, especially zeroes. I don’t know why, perhaps it's cultural. When I grew up, girls were told they were bad in math and good in storytelling. I guess I fulfilled this prophesy. 

In the ninth grade we were told to pick a foreign language class. I chose French and continued studying it through college. In the tenth grade I was instructed to select an advanced math class, since I had completed the required courses already. My reply was, “Can I take another language instead?” Lucky for me, the answer was yes. I added German to my schedule and continued studying it happily through college. 

I kept adding languages and avoiding courses I did not enjoy. The result was happiness. I liked my classes, even when they became complex, and competition from foreign students grew intense. I graduated college with a degree in German, French and English, and taught them for over 40 years. If I had been forced to take advanced math instead of the extra languages, what would have been the result? I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a successful career teaching languages. There were times where my abilities in multiple languages even granted me a job over someone with fewer language skills.

Apply my example to any student. Take the required classes in every subject, but push harder in courses you enjoy. Go to summer school or the local community college to eliminate required subjects of lower interest. Then, there will be room for more classes in your strength. Not everyone is into words. Some students love music, math or science. Whatever the strength, talent or interest, feed it, and watch it grow. Imagine having a career in something you love. As they say, it won’t feel like work. 

Picking the right courses will help students be happier and more successful in secondary school and earn far more scholarship money for college. For more information on college planning and scholarships, you’ll want my new book, Free College. It’s for families of Pre-K through High School students.  Buy it now from Amazon,

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Photo credit: Google Images